Searching for Internet Freedom in China: A Case Study on Google's China Experience

30 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2013

See all articles by Jyh-An Lee

Jyh-An Lee

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law

Ching-Yi Liu

National Taiwan University

Weiping Li


Date Written: April 1, 2013


Google has been a giant in the global Internet economy, but the company has encountered a series of setbacks in China. In order to prevent its search results from being filtered out or slowed down by the Great Firewall, Google launched the Chinese search engine in 2006 and self-censored the search results disapproved by the Chinese government. However, as the Chinese government’s regulation of and policies toward the Internet have significantly affected the fundamental principles on which Google’s business has been built, the company eventually terminated its physical search-engine operations in China in 2010 after several rounds of negotiations with the Chinese government.

Using as a case study, this Article illustrates China’s method of regulating the Internet, which may become a dominant approach in global Internet governance. Through the Great Firewall and rigid regulations on Internet business licenses, the Chinese government has illustrated how to effectively regulate the Internet by controlling relevant facilities and activities in the physical world within a nation’s borders. Moreover, the Chinese regulatory model that pushes for the alignment of private interests with the authoritarian state’s preferences and ideology may lead to serious accountability problems in both the domestic and global spheres. This Article proposes several strategies that Internet-related companies, national governments, and non-governmental organizations might use to solve such accountability crises.

Keywords: Google, China, Internet, search engine, free speech, Internet Content Provider, ICP

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jyh-An and Liu, Ching-Yi and Li, Weiping, Searching for Internet Freedom in China: A Case Study on Google's China Experience (April 1, 2013). Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Jyh-An Lee (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F, Lee Shau Kee Building
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong

Ching-Yi Liu

National Taiwan University ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106

Weiping Li

Independent ( email )

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